Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Naoki Higashida-The Reason I Jump

I think this maybe the first non-fiction review I've done? 
The reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida, book cover, hardback, design, autistic, book and a cuppa, bookandacuppa, book&cuppa, Book & a Cuppa

Naoki Higashida wrote The Reason I Jump when he was 13, in an attempt to share and explain what it feels like to be autistic by answering frequently asked questions.  It is a plea for compassion, patience and understanding. Translated from Japanese from the acclaimed author David Mitchell, and his wife KA Yoshida, who are themselves the parents of an autistic child.

I know people who are autistic, have autistic children or just have an interest in the condition will find a lot of merit in The Reason I Jump. There is a lot of optimism and positivity in text, and Naoki contradicts many of the preconceptions there are about autism. I can imagine that is people are struggling with the diagnosis, they would find hope in this book.

The problem is autism is so person-specific, that Naoki's answers are only really relevant to his experiences. I think there is is a danger that people will generalise and think that all autistic people are like Naoki.

I think The Reason I Jump goes some way in explaining autism, but it is held back as its really difficult to explain thought processes and feeling, I just don't think there's the right vocabulary available to express these ideas. For example, when I talk about what it's like to to be dyslexic, I can list the things I struggle with, but I lack the words to probably explain what actually happens in my brain. The Reason I Jump also suffers from this restriction in language.      

I would recommend The Reason I Jump, especially if you have a personal connection to the condition and if you haven't done so, I'd also suggest reading the excellent The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 

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